“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” ~Etty Hillesum
Today I’d like to discuss something that I’ve found to be very important: our breathing.
“What do you mean our breathing? Don’t we do that all the time? Why do I need to read a post about it?”
Yes, we do this involuntarily, but did you know that there are different ways we breathe? Improper breathing can affect how we feel, mentally and physically, and, in reverse, how we feel can lead to improper breathing (if, for example, we’re stressed).
#Imagine what’s going on in the following scenarios:
You’re being chased by a grizzly bear.
Chances are, you’re breathing rapidly, taking shallow breaths (drawing in minimal air to the lungs), expelling a lot of effort, and heavily expanding your chest. This is known as thoracic breathing, or chest breathing.
Thoracic breathing switches on our sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for that #fight-or-flight response we get when we sense any kind of #danger #stress or #threat
Chest breathing doesn’t optimally use our lungs (via our diaphragm), and can even lead to hyperventilation.
This type of #breathing isn’t necessarily bad, since it gives us the ability to run from that grizzly bear and can help during vigorous exercise. But we often do this unnecessarily, and it makes us feel more #anxious and #stressed
You just did something relaxing and feel very calm.
Chances are, you’re #breathing slowly (drawing in optimal air to the lungs via the diaphragm), are expelling minimal effort, and are expanding your abdomen/belly as you take in air. This is known as as diaphragmatic breathing.
This type of breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which has the opposite effect of the fight-or-flight response, inducing a feeling of calm and relaxation.
Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep/belly breathing, is beneficial to both of our minds and bodies. In fact, it has scientifically been shown to help those suffering with #PTSD #pain #depression #anxiety and other conditions.
#mentalhealth #mentalillness #mentalhealthawareness #psychological #psychology #education